The UK government has announced that the new student immigration routes into the UK will launch in October as they introduce their new points-based immigration system.
The routes, which are opening earlier than anticipated on 5 October, will see a number of changes that they say will “replace and improve upon” the existing Tier 4 student routes.
Under the student route, students from all countries will have to demonstrate that they meet the required 70 points to enter the country.
The government says that the new route will be “a fair system that treats people from all parts of the world equally” and is designed to “attract the best global talent” to a post-Brexit UK.
The new route will fall under a new set of “simplified” immigration rules that are intended to make entry into the UK fairer and easier for those who qualify.
Students will need to have an offer from an approved educational institution, be able to speak English to the required standard, and be able to financially support themselves for the duration of their studies.
The new rules mean that students from all countries, including the European Economic Area, will be required to apply under the same route.
Students will be able to apply for permission to come to the UK six months prior to their course starting. Under the previous rules, students could not apply until much closer to their intended travel time.
Those applying for leave to undertake a Sabbatical position at a Students’ Union will no longer be required to show proof of funding, as it will be understood that these are paid roles.
Students applying to stay in the UK on the Student route who have already been there for 12 months or longer will not need to demonstrate funds, and those at higher education providers with a good track record of compliance will usually not be required to provide evidence of academic qualifications in order to gain entry.
Additionally, the current eight-year time limit on studying at a postgraduate level will be removed.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “The UK has a world-leading education sector and will continue to welcome talented and high potential international students.
“There will be no limit on the number of international students who can come to the UK to study, and we will seek to increase the number of international students in higher education as set out in the International Education Strategy published in March 2019.
"Our new Graduate route, which will open in summer 2021, will allow international students who have completed undergraduate and master’s degrees in the UK to stay for two years and those who have completed a PhD to stay for three years.”
The UK’s new points-based immigration system will come into force in January 2021.